The region is on the path to progress in wind-derived clean energy production.
By Misko Taleski for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 06/02/13
A new investment in Macedonia's Bogdanci municipality will yield 44 new windmills. [AFP]
Balkan countries are working on using wind as an alternative source of generating electricity and to satisfy EU accession requirements, experts said.
"The region has a great potential in developing this popularly dubbed 'green energy.' While it cannot satisfy the total demand, it is a significant alternative to reducing the expensive imports and is environmentally clean," Zdravko Stefanovski, energy expert at the Macedonian economy ministry, told SETimes.
EU-member candidate countries Serbia and Macedonia are required to have 27 and 21 percent of their total energy production, respectively, from renewable sources.
Serbia, whose renewable energy production has reached 21 percent, created a national action plan to reach the goal.
"The difference of 6 percent will be made up by small hydro-electric plants, windmills and solar energy," Dejan Trifunovic, deputy minister for energy efficiency and renewable sources, said.
The Oil Industry of Serbia (NIS) signed an agreement last December with Energowind to build a wind park in the Plandiste municipality.
"The investment is worth 160 million euros. We will build 34 windmills with a total power of 102 MW. The building permit is already obtained and we will conclude talks with the banks in March, so the construction can begin in April," Kiril Kravchenko, director general of NIS, said.
In Macedonia, wind energy can secure close to 10 percent of the annual electricity needs.
"In Macedonia's eastern region, 150 days are windy, and wind speed reaches 8 metres per second," Stefanovski said.
A significant step forward is the investment by the Turkish company NeSa Energy in a windmill centre in Macedonia's Bogdanci municipality.
"The construction of the planned 44 windmills will be finished within the next two years," Bogdanci Mayor Risto Ichkov told SETimes.
Meanwhile, after five years of research, Macedonian Power Plants began building a 36 million-euro wind park also in the Bogdanci municipality, which has 16 windmills with a 37 MW capacity.
"We expect an inflow of energy in the second half of this year. Last year, [Macedonian Power Plants] signed an agreement with Terna-Siemens from Greece to finish the project -- to place a substation and a transmission line to connect the energy with Macedonia's grid. To obtain and install the wind turbines we concluded an agreement with Siemens from Denmark," Mirche Kotevski, spokesperson for the state-owned company, told SETimes.
Experts chose 15 potential windmill locations in Macedonia along the River Vardar and along mountainous regions where the wind speed is high -- up to 8.5 metres per second.
Moreover, Spanish windmill producer Inval stated it plans to build two wind parks in Shtip and Radovish, with 37 windmills generating 100 MW.
In Croatia, there are 79 wind aggregates with a total power of 131 MW positioned in nine wind parks.
"Things are moving very quickly and the windmill 'boom' on our shores has just begun. Croatia is first in Europe by the percentage of added installed windmill power in the first half of 2012," Nina Domazet, editor in chief of the energetika-net.hrportal, told SETimes.
Domazet said Croatia plans to build additional 94 windmills and implement six projects this year through an investment between 163 and 200 million euros. By 2020, wind is expected to become the main alternative energy source.
In contrast, Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) the first windmill began operating at the end of last year in Visoko, approved by the country's regulatory commission for electricity. The project is worth nearly 260,000 euros, financed by the private Bosnian firm Susha Komerc.
"The windmill was built in 2008, but we were waiting for the working permit. Wind will increasingly serve as alternative sources of energy," Sadeta Hadzimenahovic, a representative of Susha Komerc, said.